Iraq: Post-Saddam Governance and Security [Updated November 19, 2008]   [open pdf - 414KB]

This CRS report provides the most recent update on the situation of Governance and Security in Post-Saddam Iraq. "The Bush Administration has claimed substantial success in significantly reducing violence in Iraq as a result of the 'troop surge' announced by President Bush on January 10, 2007 ('New Way Forward'). With the 28,500 'surge' forces withdrawn as of July 2008, Defense Department reports assess that overall violence is down as much as 80% since early 2007, to levels not seen since 2004. Presidentelect Obama has indicated that stabilizing Afghanistan should be a higher priority for the United States than Iraq, but U.S. commanders say that progress in Iraq is 'fragile and tenuous' and could unravel if there is too rapid a draw-down. They recommend measured, incremental 'conditions-based' reductions in U.S. forces and continued building of Iraq's security forces, until further political progress produces a unified, democratic Iraq that can govern and defend itself and is an ally in the war on terror. […] Provincial council elections, considered crucial to further reconciliation, are set for January 31, 2009 under a newly passed election law. Yet, there are growing tensions between the Shiite-dominated government and those Sunni leaders and fighters who have been key to stabilizing large parts of Iraq, as well as continued concerns over the degree to which the Shiite faction of Moqtada Al Sadr will integrate into the political process. […] At the same time, the growing government confidence held up finalizing a U.S.-Iraq agreement that would govern the presence of U.S. forces in Iraq beyond December 2008. A draft approved by the Iraqi cabinet on November 16, and now before Iraq's parliament, mandates a timetable for a full U.S. withdrawal by the end of 2011."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, RL31339
Public Domain
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